David Cameron: More women are needed in senior roles

Prime Minister David Cameron has said increased efforts need to be made to get more women into senior positions in the Conservative Party, businesses across Britain, and the judiciary.

During a visit to Unilever's headquarters in Mumbai, Mr Cameron was asked about the issue of women in the workplace and if Britain could teach India anything about giving more opportunities to women.

He said it was not enough for companies or institutions to merely allow women to compete for jobs without making efforts to remove other barriers to female success in the workplace overall.

Although the Conservative Party saw an increase in female MPs in the 2010 general election, Mr Cameron said these efforts were still "not nearly enough".

He added that the issue of women being allowed more opportunities to progress to senior roles was one his wife, Samantha, has pressed him on.

He said: "My wife likes to say that if you don't have women in the top places, you are not just missing out on 50% of the talent, you are missing out on a lot more than 50% of the talent - and I think she probably has a point."

Mr Cameron said the issue was not just limited to politics, but in every walk of life. In response to the question posed at him, the Prime Minister stated that there are not enough women in the Cabinet, in the boardrooms of top businesses in the UK, or in the judiciary.

Speaking about how to resolve the situation, Mr Cameron stated it was not enough for companies and political parties just to say they would treat everybody equally when women start from such a position of disadvantage.

He added that organisations need to actively go out and encourage women to join, or take a course, and become part of the endeavour.

Before the last election, the Conservative Party had only 19 MPs, but that more than doubled to 50 in 2010.

Mr Cameron admitted that while progress had been made, not enough has been done overall.

He stated: "We have made a big change, but it is only 50 out of 300, so it's not nearly enough, so we need to do more."

Copyright Press Association 2013